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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Action Research:
Teacher Networks: Making Mondays Meaningful: Why Do Teachers Want to Wake Up Earlier on Monday?

By Kiara Vigil & Uzma Shah
Baruch College Campus High School

Research Question
How do Monday morning meetings contribute to the professional development of teachers and impact student achievement?

Background
Baruch College Campus High School (BCCHS) is a partnership between New York City’s Community School District Two and Baruch College, City University of New York. It is a small high school that serves a wide variety of students from all boroughs and backgrounds. Rigor is emphasized for all students to achieve high levels of understanding while pursuing a college preparatory curriculum. Rigor is also emphasized for teachers and staff who work collaboratively to create and plan courses, units, professional development workshops, grade team meetings, department meetings, and school wide events. In addition to rigor for students and staff alike, professional development for teachers is at the heart of the school. As teachers at BCCHS we were initially inclined to focus our research on some (or even all!) of the professional development meetings we attend on a weekly basis. Each teacher at BCCHS attends an average of eight to twelve meetings per month on various topics related to student achievement and professional development. We chose to focus our study on the Monday morning meetings that begin as a whole staff and then break into grade team groups. These meetings have evolved the most over the past six years and therefore offer a large pool of data. The founders of the school created these meetings to help unify the staff’s vision for the week and to provide continuous monitoring of student progress while also building community. Since the inception of the meetings their format and content have been modified based on the needs of teachers, changes in the student population, and the administration’s willingness to adapt to fit these needs.

Structure of Monday Morning Meetings (MMM’s)
In its’ present form the Monday morning meeting follows this agenda:

  • 7:30-7:40: Teachers gather to read Weekly calendar announcements individually

  • 7:41-8:00: Teachers meet by grade team to discuss 2 struggling students

Teachers take on roles during this time-Facilitator, Recorder, Time-keeper
Facilitator: lead the discussion of 2 previously selected students
Each teacher: shares the struggles and strengths of those students in his/her class and suggests strategies for support
Recorder: Takes notes to keep on file as part of the Team’s binder and to give copies to the Administration, Guidance office, and Advisors.
Time is also used by all to discuss which two students will be profiled for the following week.

Tools Used to Collect the Data

  • Student Surveys
  • Teacher Questionnaires
  • Interviews (Teacher and Student):
  • Team Binders
  • Anecdotal notes from Meetings
  • Feedback Session with Teachers

Data Description & Analysis

1. Teachers who felt that meeting time was used appropriately and productively:
Yes-58% No- 42%

2. Teachers who felt a clear structure for use of time was essential:
Yes-58% No-42%

3. Teachers who felt that defined roles were necessary in using meeting time effectively:
Yes-74% No-26%

4. Teachers who felt the Monday Morning Meetings enabled them to better support student
Achievement:
Yes-21% No-79%

5. Teachers who thought more time was needed to follow up and track the academic progress of students:
Yes-84% No-16%

6. Teachers who felt they needed more time to prepare for and reflect on these meetings:
Yes-68% No-32%

The above data, combined with additional teacher feedback, reveal that teachers require more time to work collaboratively in structuring how they use professional development meetings. Additional time to follow-up on the strategies implemented is also necessary. Furthermore teachers must be given voice in analyzing the effectiveness of this meeting time. A deeper analysis of the Monday morning meetings at Baruch College Campus High School has led to broader conclusions for instructional practice, professional development of teachers, and the need for policy initiatives.

Policy Implications:
-The End of Isolation: Respecting Teacher Voice and Time

The isolation within which contemporary teachers work is so common as to be almost transparent. Isolated from other professionals, teachers and their practice are embedded within a hierarchical system in which the day-to-day activities are governed by external forces: administrative mandates, parental requests, and legislative directives. The teachers--the ones with the most knowledge about the specifics of the contexts in which they work--may feel the least empowered to engage in innovative practices that could enhance the lives of their students in important ways.

- Talking Shop, Authentic Conversation and Teacher Learning, 164

This research study has shown that teachers want and need more time to reflect on their work in professional meetings where teacher talk is focused around supporting struggling students. Education policy makers need to consider that teachers need guidance, a supportive administration, and compensation for time used in enriching their own professional development, which aids the instruction and support of their students.

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